Froback Friday

Well, I missed Throwback Thursday so I created Froback Friday! In honor of the large annual car show staged by a local museum that will take place on Sunday the 16th, here are some classic cars:


See the source image


From a picture of a beautiful 1933 Duesenberg. Even though the original Duesenberg company made its last car over 80 years ago, their creations—with help from the coachbuilders—are still revered today by many collectors and enthusiasts. At the recently concluded Mecum auction in Monterey, California, a 1933 Duesenberg Model J “Disappearing Top” convertible with coachwork by Bohman and Schwartz sold, all in, for $3.85 million. In the same auction a 1929 Model J with coachwork by Murphy sold for “only” $1.155 million all in. I don’t know if it was Duesenberg that inspired the expression “It’s A Duesy” but that wouldn’t be hard to believe.

On the other hand, even if I could afford one I don’t think I would buy a Duesenberg. As I have written here ad nauseam I own cars in order to drive them and, frankly, wouldn’t feel safe driving one of these. If I were to modernize a Duesenberg to make it safe then I would destroy its value. Let me amend my stance slightly: if I were REALLY rich, then I might buy one. By REALLY rich I mean a net worth in excess of $100 million.


See the source image


From a picture of a 1949 Cadillac Series 62. The 1949 Cadillacs were significant because, six years before the introduction of the famous small block Chevrolet V-8, Cadillac introduced a “modern” overhead valve V-8 engine. This article from Hemmings is an excellent history of the car/engine. From the article:

“The fact that the valves were now in the cylinder heads, actuated by pushrods, was really only one of the improvements incorporated into the design. The relocated valves also enabled the design of the new engine’s wedge-shaped combustion chambers, which would help the engine to take advantage of higher compression ratios, in turn enabled by the petroleum industry’s improvement in fuel quality…[T]he advancement of aviation engines–primarily for military aircraft during the war–mandated improved aviation fuels, and after the war these advancements began trickling down to enhance automotive fuels. Though the OHV’s initial 7.5:1 ratio was not a huge leap from the former L-head V-8’s 7.25:1, it was progressive; the engineers knew that even better fuels were on the way, and those wedge-shaped chambers would easily allow them to raise the engine’s compression further (12.0:1 was seen as feasible) in the coming years.

The big-bore/short-stroke configuration was a significant element of the design, as it allowed the engineers to reduce piston travel by nearly 20 percent, reducing internal friction. The shorter stroke also reduced the cylinder-wall area, helping to lower heat transfer and boosting thermal efficiency, in turn contributing to increased power output. Also developed as part of the new engine program were “slipper” pistons, which use a partial skirt to provide clearance for the crankshaft counterweights. This allowed for the use of shorter connecting rods, which reduced reciprocating mass and provided smoother operation.

The 3.81 x 3.625-inch bore/stroke relationship netted 331 cubic inches and developed 160 horsepower–the highest in the industry at the time. The larger-displacement L-head V-8 engine the OHV replaced made only 150hp and weighed nearly 200 pounds more.”

Recall from this post the belief that better fuels after World War II would allow automobile manufacturers to create engines with higher compression ratios that would, in turn, create more power from the same displacement. One of the reasons I am such an advocate of turbochargers for internal combustion engines is that they create more power from the same displacement and/or allow for good power from smaller displacement, which reduces fuel consumption. Turbochargers also reduce emissions and increase the thermal efficiency of the engine.



See the source image


From Barrett-Jackson a picture of a 1956 DeSoto Fireflite Sportsman hardtop coupe. My obsession with defunct American car companies is no secret (duh!) and this DeSoto just floats my boat. In 1956 a Fireflite convertible was the pace car for the Indianapolis 500; five years later, DeSoto was no more. The 1956 Fireflite was powered by a 330 cubic-inch hemi (yes, a street hemi in the 1950s) V-8 that produced 255 HP/350 LB-FT of torque.

I can’t wait for Sunday!


P.S. I guess I didn’t really create Froback Friday as an Internet search reveals a few pages with the same name. Does it matter?




2 thoughts on “Froback Friday

  1. That ’56 DeSoto is a great looking car. Like you, I like the DeSotos of the mid-’50s. The ’61 – the last year they were produced in an abbreviated model year at that – was a horror to look at. It was a good thing they were put out of their misery! 1961 across the Chrysler line was not a good year for styling but that poor DeSoto was the worst!


Comments are closed.